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SELF-FOCUSED ATTENTION: COMMONALITIES ACROSS PSYCHOPATHOLOGIES AND PREDICTORS

  • Janet Woodruff-Borden (a1), Andrew J. Brothers (a1) and Sally C. Lister (a1)

Abstract

Self-focused attention, also thought of a self-absorption, has been linked to a variety of affective states and clinical syndromes, including depression, panic disorder, social anxiety, schizophrenia, and alcoholism. Ingram (1990b) has suggested that self-focus may be a “nonspecific process” that is common across psychopathologies. Studies with nonclinical samples have supported this contention, and the current study assessed whether self-focus was common across various clinically diagnosed groups. A second issue, given this commonality, was to examine the factors across diagnostic conditions to which self-focus was related. One hundred and thirty-eight outpatients were included, and were divided into three groups based on primary diagnosis: “depression”, “panic”, and “other anxiety”. They were assessed with the ADIS-R/IV and completed measures assessing self-focus, affective states, global psychopathology, and problem-solving. Self-focus was common across groups, with minor valence variations. Severity of primary diagnosis predicted total self-focus, with level of depression and trait anxiety predicting negative self-focus. Correlational analyses suggested that self-focused attention is related to general measures of psychopathology and severity, and negatively related to problem-solving. The pattern with negative self-focus was even more pronounced, with significant relationships to all measures of psychopathology, clinician-rated severity, and a negative relationship with problem-solving. Results are discussed in terms of differences between “normal” and problematic self-focus, the causal direction in the relationship between self-focus and negative affect, and the link between self-focus and problem-solving.

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Corresponding author

Reprint requests to Janet Woodruff-Borden, Department of Psychology, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, U.S.A. E-mail: j.woodruff-borden@louisville.edu

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SELF-FOCUSED ATTENTION: COMMONALITIES ACROSS PSYCHOPATHOLOGIES AND PREDICTORS

  • Janet Woodruff-Borden (a1), Andrew J. Brothers (a1) and Sally C. Lister (a1)

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SELF-FOCUSED ATTENTION: COMMONALITIES ACROSS PSYCHOPATHOLOGIES AND PREDICTORS

  • Janet Woodruff-Borden (a1), Andrew J. Brothers (a1) and Sally C. Lister (a1)
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